Hospital Trust Apologises To Islanders

St Mary's Hospital

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Chief Executive has apologised for remarks suggesting that islanders abuse the medical travel warrant system.

The Council’s Health Committee members were incensed at suggestions that patients used the £5 medical airfares for shopping trips.

Trust Chief Executive Lezli Boswell wrote to the Council to apologise for the ‘historical upset.’

Council officer Aisling Hick said she hoped the letters showed the Trust’s ‘sorrow’.

The issue flared up when the NHS tried to get islanders to pay for the travel costs upfront and claim them back later.

The Council warned that could mean hardship for patients needing regular mainland treatment, but Aisling said the Trust would now work with the islands to find a solution.

Health committee chairman Dudley Mumford and member of the LINk Health watchdog, Jane Hurd, will drive forward proposals for the best way to deal with payments.

Aisling said Link had already written their proposal.

But it’s going to be complicated.

Streamlining attempts have failed and there’ll be two different warrant systems depending who says you need to go to the mainland.

The RCHT at Treliske wrote to Peninsula Health, who now runs St Mary’s hospital, to see whether RCHT could administrate their warrants too but Peninsula said no.

RCHT have suggested a 7-day telephone booking system which would help off-islanders by avoiding a visit to St Mary’s hospital

Zoe Howard of the NHS told Councillors she was measuring the success of the Cornwall and IoS primary care trust referral service. They were booking islanders into appointments that were easier to attend, usually between 11am and 2pm.

Carol Clark of link said that was working well because islanders are called and asked whether times are suitable.

The warrants issue will be discussed again at the next Council health meeting on May 3rd.